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wandshogun09

UFC Nashville: Wonderboy vs Pettis - Mar 23 🇺🇸

Who wins and how?   

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Saturday 23rd March in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s Wonderboy vs Showtime...

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ESPN+ MAIN CARD
Stephen Thompson vs Anthony Pettis 

Curtis Blaydes vs Justin Willis

John Makdessi vs Jesus Pinedo 

Jussier Formiga vs Deiveson Figueiredo 

Steven Peterson vs Luis Pena 

J.J. Aldrich vs Maycee Barber

 

ESPN+ PRELIMS
Bobby Moffett vs Bryce Mitchell 

Frankie Saenz vs Marlon Vera

Alexis Davis vs Jennifer Maia

Randa Markos vs Angela Hill

Chris Gutierrez vs Ryan MacDonald 

Eric Shelton vs Jordan Espinoza 

 

Decent. Nothing amazing but there’s definitely stuff worth checking out there. 

 

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So Wonderboy Thompson vs Anthony Pettis headlines. Bit of an odd piece of matchmaking and it came out of the blue but I like it. It’s just a thrown together fun fight really. There aren’t really any stakes and neither man are in the immediate title hunt having both lost last time out in contender fights. We haven’t seen Wonderboy since he lost that ridiculously close decision to Darren Till in Liverpool last May. He picked up a knee injury in the fight, which is the main reason he’s been out. But also, he’s had a couple of proposed fights fall through. He says he was being lined up to face Robbie Lawler and Santiago Ponzinibbio at different points but neither materialised. Pettis is moving up to 170 for this, which seems strange and random but I think it’s a one-off because he likes this particular matchup with Wonderboy more than anything. He’s talked about really wanting this fight to test himself as they’re both from traditional martial arts backgrounds - Thompson with the Karate/Kickboxing and Pettis with the Taekwondo. I don’t think Pettis is looking to stay at welterweight, especially with his teammates Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren firmly in the title mix. This is just a fight that appealed to Pettis and with him losing to Tony Ferguson his last time out in October, he’s not getting a title shot at 155 anytime soon so why not?

Good fight. Like with any Wonderboy fight though, it could be a tactical chess match. I could see him and Pettis ending up waiting on each others’ next move all night like the Thompson vs Till fight and both playing the counter game. But it’ll be a fascinating clash and both have the ability to end it in a heartbeat if the other slips up. 

 

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Curtis Blaydes vs Justin Willis is OK. Didn’t exactly fill me with joy and excitement when it was announced but it’ll do. Blaydes is looking to rebound here. He was on a great little run with wins over Alexey Oleynik, Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem but then he ran into Francis Ngannou in their rematch in November, and got done in 45 seconds. He’s 10-2-1 now with the only losses coming against Ngannou. Willis is 31 years old, 8-1 record and fights out of AKA so he’s on the mats with Cormier, Cain, Rockhold, Khabib etc on a daily basis. Went relatively unknown until his last fight where he decisioned Mark Hunt on December’s Adelaide show. Looked alright but nothing mind blowing. 

 

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Alexis Davis vs Jennifer Maia is just there. Davis is a strong grappler and was a top contender at one point with wins over Tonya Evinger, Sarah Kaufman, Julie Kedzie, Shayna Baszler, Rosi Sexton, Jessica Eye and Liz Carmouche. She also holds a TKO victory over Amanda Nunes from their Strikeforce days. Alexis Davis was legit. But these days she’s mostly remembered for being on the wrong end of Ronda Rousey’s 16 second titty-jiggling KO in 2014. Since then she took time out to have a baby and has had very mixed results since coming back. She’s 34 years old now, with a 19-8 record and is coming off a points loss to Katlyn Chookagian. Maia is 30 years old, 15-5-1 and 3-0 as a pro boxer. She fights out of Chute Boxe and has notable wins over Roxanne Modafferi, Vanessa Porto and Jessica Andrade. She was the Invicta flyweight champion but lost her UFC debut against Carmouche in July. 

 

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John Makdessi vs Nasrat Haqparast could be quality. I’ve always liked watching Makdessi. He’ll never be in the title hunt but for where he is on the card he’s good value. Really good striker. Haqparast is 23 years old, German, 10-2 record out of the Tristar gym. I remember he looked  impressive in his last fight against Thibault Gouti in October. Real potential there, he’s more than just a Kelvin Gastelum doppleganger. Quite looking forward to seeing how he matches up with an experienced and technical striker like Makdessi. 

 

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I’m giving Jussier Formiga vs Deiveson Figueiredo the ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** treatment for this one. This is one of those fights that’s flying right under everyone’s radar but I think it could be an absolute corker. Formiga is underrated and has been a bit of a darkhorse in the flyweight division for some time now, IMO. He’s a BJJ and Judo black-belt, 22-5 MMA record and comes into this one off 3 wins over Sergio Pettis, Ben Nguyen and Ulka Sasaki. He’s also beat Dustin Ortiz, Wilson Reis, Zach Makovsky and Scott Jorgensen. He’s no joke. His only losses were all to top guys at the time too. He’s in with fellow Brazilian Deiveson Figueiredo. An unbeaten fighter at 15-0 with 13 finishes. He’s 4-0 in the UFC with 3 finishes. I wasn’t especially familiar with him but I saw his last fight and he looked like an animal beating down John Moraga and stopping him. He was all over Moraga and really put on a display. One of those performances that makes you sit up and take notice. I love this fight because Formiga will be a serious step up for Figueiredo, but it doesn’t feel like they’re rushing Figueiredo into it either. It seems like the perfect test for him at this stage. Should be an excellent fight as well. 
 

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J.J. Aldrich vs Maycee Barber could be good. Aldrich is 26 with a 7-2 record. Black-belt in Taekwondo, brown-belt in BJJ. Is close friends and one of the main training partners of Rose Namajunas. She hasn’t blown me away from what I’ve seen so far but she is coming off 3 UFC wins in a row over Polyana Viana, Danielle Taylor and Chan Mi-Jeon. Maycee Barber is the big prospect here though. She’s only 20 years old, 6-0 with 5 finishes. Made her UFC debut in November and totally battered Hannah Cifers to a bloody pulp. Really put a beating on her like you rarely see from a flyweight woman. Aldrich should be a trickier test for her though, so this is an interesting one. 

 

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Bobby Moffett vs Bryce Mitchell doesn’t do a great deal for me but could be alright. Moffett is 14-3 and is coming in off that controversial submission win over Chas Skelly in November. Mitchell was on Team DC on the Cormier vs Miocic season of TUF. He lost on the show but as a pro he’s 10-0 officially. He’s been out a bit though because he ”ripped his nutsack in half” with a drill while doing some DIY at home. Seriously. Fuck knows. Not the brightest bulb. 

 

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Steven Peterson vs Luis Pena I’m going in half blind on. Peterson isn’t really ringing any bells with me, can’t recall seeing him fight and looking at his record none of it is jogging my memory. He’s 17-7 overall and 1-1 in the UFC. Pena I’m a little bit familiar with as he was also on the DC vs Stipe TUF last year. He’s 23 years old, 5-1 with 5 finishes and he’s a pretty huge featherweight at 6’3”. 

 

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Randa Markos vs Angela Hill is another battle of ex-TUFers. These two were on the all strawweight season back in 2014. Randa did well on that and was the darkhorse of the season but has floundered ever since. At one point she went 11 fights in a row alternating between wins and losses. She snapped that odd streak last time out by going to a majority draw with Marina Rodríguez. Hill has also had mixed results but I mostly remember her for her fucking awesome fight with Jessica Andrade a couple of years ago. If you haven’t seen it, trust me, it’s well worth firing up the old Fight Pass for. So yeah, a nothing fight but could be decent. Randa’s grappling vs Hill’s striking will likely be the story. 

 

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Frankie Saenz vs Marlon Vera was meant to go down at 235 but was scrapped last minute when Vera fell ill. Glad it’s been quickly rebooked because it should be a good little scrap. Saenz got on most MMA fans radar for his valiant losing effort against Urijah Faber a few years back but he’s been hit and miss since then so wasn’t able to capitalise on the momentum. He’s won his last two now though so hopefully he can make a bit of a run of it. Vera’s also won his last two and has gone the distance with John Lineker. He’s probably mostly remembered as the man who retired Brad Pickett though. 

 

Solid little card actually, to be fair. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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The UFC should have gone with Willis/Tuivasa here. They'll still probably do that next but thats a fight that needs to happen.

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Am I the only one who sees the Wonderboy vs Pettis fight as a bit of a mismatch? Take away the obvious difference in size, with Thompson being a big welterweight and Pettis actually managing to make 145lbs not that long ago, but Pettis got absolutely smashed by Tony Ferguson, Dustin Poirier, and Max Holloway. 

I know Thompson may not be on their level pound for pound, but he's a similar fighter and he'll likely hit a lot fucking harder. 

Can't help but see this as Pettis desperately looking for somewhere new to go having lost four of his last six at 155lbs since dropping the title. Obviously 145lbs didn't work, and I don't see him having much success at 170lbs either.

Nothing much else really jumps out at me as a "must see" but it'll be worth watching nonetheless.

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So, this is happening this weekend. The fallout of London has kind of overshadowed it a bit, but it's an interesting card even if it's not "must-see" by any stretch.

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On 3/5/2019 at 9:01 AM, David said:

 

Can't help but see this as Pettis desperately looking for somewhere new to go having lost four of his last six at 155lbs since dropping the title. Obviously 145lbs didn't work, and I don't see him having much success at 170lbs either.

 

Both Pettis brothers could be accused of doing the same thing. It feels like they believe going to a new division whipes clean the losses, they are bouncing all over the place.

Its a quality stylistic fight though, hopefully they get flashy in there and deliver. Cant help but feel the size difference will be the difference though. Wonderboy by TKO in 4 or 5. 

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Is it just me, or does anyone else think that Brett Okamoto has really come into his own since the ESPN deal was signed? The fanfare was made over Ariel switching over to ESPN, and he's done a great job as well, but Okamato seemed to fly under the radar. 

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That’ll probably be because Okamoto was with ESPN anyway. Just quickly googled and it seems he’s worked for ESPN since 2010. He’s been good for a while to be fair. You wouldn’t see his stuff like you would a Helwani, Luke Thomas, John Morgan or whoever but whenever he’d tweet breaking news or a fight announcement or something you’d know it’s reliable. But yeah, this UFC/ESPN deal means he’s getting more play on the platform and his work is getting much more coverage. I’ve really enjoyed his stuff so far since the start of the year. He also did a great thing with Ben Askren and Chael Sonnen on trash talkers in MMA/Boxing, a really good 30 minute interview with Ben Askren on UFC 235 fight week and a good one with Darren Till in London. He’s excellent at what he does. We’ve all been sleeping on him really. 

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I don't tend to read or watch many MMA interviews or reports, but yeah, Okamoto is someone who I've been noticing a lot more in terms of output whenever I'm browsing through social media. He was cropping up a lot at UFC 235 as well with the whole presentation side and I thought he did a great job with that.

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One of the beautiful things about now living on ‘UFC time’ is getting to see things like that live.

Fucking hell.

I saw a tweet that said something to the effect of ‘Wonderboy was REALLY winning that fight, right up until he REALLY wasnt’. About sums it up.

Hard to see where Wonderboy goes now. 36, KO’d by a jumped up featherweight and in one of the more top heavy divisions in the game.

Shame, as he seems like such a wonderful man.

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10 hours ago, d-d-d-dAz said:

One of the beautiful things about now living on ‘UFC time’ is getting to see things like that live.

 

Innit. I had the result spoiled for me this morning.

Absolutely delighted for Pettis. He had a rough few years, which coincided with the UFC throwing some promotional heft his way. Pettis looked like he'd been found out and probably peaked early, but he's a legit contender for the title now. This fight sort of summed it up for him, with Wonderboy schooling him for most of it, but Pettis still coming forward, not getting disheartened and then steals Roman Reign's move for a very Pettis finish.

Shame for Wonderboy because up until the last few seconds of the round, I thought that's the best he's looked in a while. He seemed to have Pettis' timing down in the 2nd, then you know.

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Yeah that was madness. What a KO. Out of nowhere. You kind of new when that 10 seconds left horn went off that Pettis would try something but because he’s so unpredictable you never know what it’ll be. He’s never really knocked anyone out with punches before, has he? Maybe in the WEC days but nothing is springing to mind. That extra bit of weight at 170 must’ve made some of that difference but he also timed it to perfection. And that’s where Wonderboy’s hands down style of defence relying on reflexes can backfire. 

Like you guys I had Wonderboy taking both the first 2 rounds right up until that killshot connected. Pettis was competitive throughout and landed some solid stuff, mostly the leg kicks, but it just felt like Wonderboy was going to run away with it. Like I said in the opening post though, when you get 2 strikers as accurate, quick and unorthodox as these guys all it takes is one slip up or lapse in concentration and it can be lights out. 

Wonder what’s next for Pettis after that. He was saying before this that it was probably going to be a one-off thing at welterweight. And with his teammates Woodley and Askren in the title picture at 170, I can’t see him sticking around there. But at the same time, he’s already fought and lost to most of the top boys at 155. There’s still fights to be made there of course. Pettis vs a Gaethje, Iaquinta, Diaz (if he ever comes back), even McGregor would all be appealing fresh matchups to make. And rematches with Cerrone or Poirier wouldn’t upset anyone. But pretty much everyone already has a dance partner now. It’ll be interesting to see who he’s paired with next. He deserves something big after that. 

I keep saying it but I really hope we get to see Aldo vs Pettis before Aldo retires. If Aldo gets by Volkanovski at 237 it’s definitely the fight I’d go with next. Should’ve happened in 2013 so there’s unfinished business there. And who wouldn’t want to see that fight? On paper it’s a match made in heaven style-wise. And the timing couldn’t be much better with them both getting their swagger back again recently. Fuck it, even if Aldo loses to Volkanovski I think I’d do Aldo vs Pettis next. Who’s going to complain? 

Get it made. 

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Just caught the highlights of the main event. Chuffed for Pettis. I've always had a soft spot for him. 

I've never really dug deep to find out why Pettis declined. Was it injuries? Was it training habits? Did fighters simply figure him out? Etc, etc. What I will say is that he's had a tough run of opponents since losing to RDA. He's faced Holloway, Ferguson, Alvarez, Poirier. All of whom are top fighters or close to it. The worst fighter he has lost to since losing the Lightweight belt is Barboza, who is still a very good fighter in his own right. That run of opponents would have exposed any fighter who had regressed slightly, or had shortcomings in their game. 

I also like the idea of Aldo vs Pettis. That match-up was a MMA fan's wet-dream in 2013. It was pencilled in to happen at 145lbs at one point. 

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1 hour ago, jimufctna24 said:

I also like the idea of Aldo vs Pettis. That match-up was a MMA fan's wet-dream in 2013. It was pencilled in to happen at 145lbs at one point. 

More than pencilled in, Aldo vs Pettis was all officially signed and announced for UFC 163 in August 2013. Which is where that sexy beach picture above is from. They’d already started promoting it out in Brazil where the show was going to take place. 

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Pettis pulled out with a knee injury and was replaced by the Korean Zombie. I was fucking gutted but the Zombie was good enough of a replacement to sweeten the pill. Oddly enough, within weeks of pulling out of the early August 145 title fight against Aldo, Pettis was recovered from his knee injury and fit to step in against Benson Henderson in late August for the 155 strap. I remember reading speculation online at the time that maybe Pettis pulled out because he was struggling with cutting down to 145. Another rumour I read was that the UFC were scrambling because of TJ Grant’s concussion problems taking him out of the Bendo fight and with the Bendo card being in Milwaukee - Pettis’ hometown - plus the ready made backstory between Bendo and Pettis, it just made sense to shuffle the fights and do Aldo vs Zombie and Bendo vs Pettis 2. Who knows? It worked out in the end but it’s a shame we never did get that Aldo vs Pettis fight at the time. Although I honestly think the fight happening now would be just as good, if not better, with the form they’re both currently in. 

As for Pettis’ slump, I think there were a whole bunch of factors. I remember going into that Dos Anjos fight he seemed to be hitting his absolute peak. He was on fire in the Lauzon and Cerrone fights, the Bendo title win and his first defence against Melendez. But I also recall thinking there were signs he was perhaps starting to believe his own hype. The pre-fight interviews for RDA, I think he was talking about being the best of all time and how his opponents weren’t on his level or something. Nothing outrageous, fighters talk like that to sell fights sometimes but I remember thinking it seemed a bit out of character. Then RDA gave him that 5 round spanking (still one of the greatest title winning performances ever for me, that) and I think how RDA utterly dominated him might’ve mindfucked him for a bit. Didn’t help that his next 2 fights, what should’ve been his rebound fights, were against fucking Eddie Alvarez and Edson Barboza! The Alvarez loss in particular was terrible as the fight was shockingly dull and proof that two rights can make a wrong. Pettis vs Alvarez sounded like the FOTY on paper but it was a dud. Can’t blame Alvarez for switching things up and fighting safe. He needed a W and, while disappointing to watch and not the most entertaining as a spectator, his tactics were successful and threw Pettis right off. Since the Barboza loss Pettis has gone W-L-W-L-W-L-W. So he’s hardly BACK but the losses were to Ferguson, Poirier and Holloway FFS. And he looked back on form in the wins submitting top grapplers like Charles Oliveira and Michael Chiesa. And now KOing Wonderboy, Superman style. 

So yeah, the TL;DR version - I think the Anthony Pettis ‘lost years’ of 2015-17 were down to a mixture of overconfidence initially, mental hurdles after the RDA loss making him gun-shy, some injuries and just generally facing a steady flow of beasts. You fight the list of killers Pettis has and either you’re going to suffer some defeats or you must be the GOAT. Seriously, look at the shift Showtime has put in over the years...

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Edited by wandshogun09

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Apart from the main event, that was quite a boring show with most fights dragging on and on. I'm glad Showtime is back in the win column but I was sad that it was at the expense of Wonderboy. Wonder boy won every single second of that fight apart from the last 2 seconds, but that's the fight game and now Wonderboy has to build up a few more wins. I don't think he is completely out of the title picture but with the killers at Welterweight right now it will be hard to become a number 1 contender any time soon.

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